Gavin (2) and Grant Molnar (5) use a shovel to scour the floor for debris at the Roxanne Molnar Farm on April 21, 2011, in Grantville, PA. Roxanne and Matthew Molnar have an 80,000 poultry farm and were recipients of a $20,000 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant. The money is a portion of the cost to modernize the second of two 40,000 chicken capacity chicken houses. Chickens need to be kept at a comfortable temperature to remain productive. New radiant heaters (black linear ceiling mounted unit) keep the chickens warm during Pennsylvania winters in their hilltop location. On warm days, ceiling vents (near the walls) provide passive venting of heat out of the building; when chicken temperatures are estimated to be above 90 degrees, fans come on, pulling air through water evaporator elements (behind black panels on right) that bring air temperature down 10-15 degrees) and flows along the chicken house's length, in effect a tunnel of cooled air. The benefits to the chickens are heat and excess moisture removal; minimized dust and odor; limits buildup of ammonia and carbon dioxide; and provides oxygen for respiration. All these systems are computer controlled allowing owner, Roxanne Molnar to run the farm by herself and raise the two boys. Matthew works off the farm and frequently travels, so along with the demands of parenting and manually controlling fans, vents, and having to remove the 80,000 chickens from their feeders and moving them around to cool them was an increasingly daunting task. The computer controls of the new system automate many of the daylong tasks allowing the Molnars to run their family farm. USDA photo by Lance Cheung
April 27, 2014
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